Sign up to our mailing list to receive 10% OFF your first order!


Emerald – Everything you need to know

Find out more about the history of Emerald and everything you need to know about the enchanting birthstone of May!

History of Emerald

The Emerald was once desired by ancient empires and was believed the have mystical health-healing powers. Today, the vibrant birthstone of May is a symbol of loyalty, new beginnings, peace and security and is still highly sought-after, as its rarity has only increased in time.

Where is Emerald from?

The first Emeralds are thought to have been mined in Egypt around 1500BC, with some of the oldest estimated to be around 2.97 billion years old. Today, many of the finest Emeralds come from Colombia and have done for more than 500 years. Three of the most notable Colombian mining sites are Muzo, Chivor and Coscuez.

Famous Emerald

Emeralds have been favoured among the rich and famous from as far back as Ancient Egypt, when Cleopatra ruled. It is said that Cleopatra was so fanatical about Emeralds that she had her own Emerald mine.

Actress Elizabeth Taylor is also known to have been a fan of the gem. In 2011, an emerald pendant necklace that was once owned by Taylor sold for $6.5 million at an auction.

Today, Emeralds are still just as loved among celebrities. Amal Clooney, wife of actor George Clooney, wears a 7-carat Emerald cut diamond, while Angelina Jolie wears an Emerald rock that is estimated to be around 16 carats!

Emerald value

The value of an Emerald tends to depend on the intensity of its colour. Emeralds that are more intense and saturated in colour are typically more valuable. Whereas Emeralds of faint, pale hues tend to be a lot less valuable.

Emerald buying tips

Follow the tips below when shopping for an Emerald to ensure you are getting the best value possible.


The colour of an Emerald is assessed in three categories: hue, tonal grade and saturation.

The gem ranges in hues of green, from blue-green to yellow-green. Many Emeralds today are Columbian, which are blue-green.


Like most jewels, Emeralds come in a variety of sizes. Centre stones for rings or necklaces are usually 1 – 5 carats.


Inclusions (small marks) that are visible to the untrained eye are expected to be seen in about 99% of Emeralds. Eye-clean emeralds are the most valuable because they are so rare.

Cuts and Shapes

An Emerald should ideally be cut symmetrically, with consistent facets to ensure top colour and brilliance. A quality cut Emerald will enhance the hue, tone and saturation, whereas poor cuts may appear dull. They tend to be cut into hexagonal shapes or ovals.

McGowans Emeralds

Our experienced and friendly team will always help to guide you through the buying process of any gemstone and will ensure you find the best piece for your taste and budget. You can visit us in store in Glasgow or Aberdeen to discover our range of affordable and beautiful Emerald jewellery. We have finance options available too.

We sell a range of stunning Emerald jewellery, from rings to necklaces and wristwear to earrings.

We currently have 20% off all emerald jewellery throughout May, so now is the time to invest in the gorgeous green jewel. Visit us in Glasgow or Aberdeen to discover a stunning selection of emerald jewellery, or view a small selection online here.

Our online items only represent a small selection of our stock. Please pop into any of our stores to see the full collection.

If you want to hear more from McGowans, sign up to our email newsletter here to receive the latest news, updates, offers and competitions.